The Anderson University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance has selected Bill Gaither to receive the 2012 Outstanding Music Alumni Award and will honor him during Homecoming Chapel on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m. in Reardon Auditorium.
The pages of history have been written by ordinary people who have had something extraordinary to say with their lives. Bill Gaither is just such an individual: an Indiana-born kid with an insatiable love for music who grew to become an industry leader and changed the course of gospel music history through the songs he has written and his influence as a mentor for other artists.
An avid fan of gospel quartets throughout his childhood, Bill founded his first group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956 while he was a college student at Anderson University. He began teaching English in 1959 because his musical aspirations could not yet support him. In 1962, Bill married Gloria Sickal, also an AU alumna, who became the best writing partner Bill could have found anywhere. The couple spent the first five years of their married life juggling full-time teaching jobs with writing, singing, recording, and publishing until music became their full-time career in 1967.
Bill and Gloria’s collaborations have resulted in more than 700 popular gospel songs, including the hymnal standards “Because He Lives,” “The King Is Coming,” “Something Beautiful,” “He Touched Me,” “It Is Finished,” “There’s Something About That Name,” “Let’s Just Praise The Lord,” and “Loving God, Loving Each Other.” Bill and Gloria have collectively won eight Grammy Awards, with more than a dozen nominations. They have received more than two dozen Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association, earning the title of Gospel Music Association’s “Songwriter of the Year” eight times.
The presentation during chapel on Oct. 2 will be videotaped to be shown during the Homecoming Concert on Friday evening, Oct. 5. The concert will take place at Park Place Church of God at 7:30 p.m. Bill will not be in attendance at the Homecoming Concert on Friday evening due to a previously scheduled engagement.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.